J.J. Redick's report card | Magic Basketball

«

»

May 23

J.J. Redick’s report card

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

J.J. Redick plays a solid game, a fluid game, and a game that makes us think we are missing him when he is gone. Those around the league like to say he has a “high basketball IQ.” But does he? It seems that sometimes there are players who can give you positive output in almost every statistical category, but still fail to impact the game the way you want them to.

First we have to define basketball IQ. I hear it a lot when a player makes an unexpectedly good decision, or shows in some way that he schooled himself on his opponent. Generally it means preparedness, or the ability to adapt the rhythm of the game no matter what. Moreover, it means thinking ahead, and being one step ahead of your opponent.

At first glance I would say Redick definitely has a high basketball IQ. But how does this translate to statistics? I break it down into four categories: taking smart shots, making smart passes, playing strong defense, and protecting the ball. Superstar or not, if you can keep those four areas of your game on speed dial, you will do more good than harm for your team.

As for taking smart shots, Redick obviously does not struggle with the temptation to throw up circus shots, or go off shooting fadeaway’s from deep. His shot selection is sound, as evidenced by his .589 True Shooting percentage from this season. In fact, only two Magic players have a better True Shooting percentage than Redick—Dwight Howard and Ryan Anderson.

Need a current Eastern Conference Finals contender to compare that to? Kyle Korver currently has a True Shooting percentage of .572, and D-Wade is .581. So yes, Redick shoots for a high percentage, and at 17 percent usage, that is exactly what you need out of him.

Redick’s True Shooting percentage puts him among the leagues top 50 players, so he gets an A in this category.

But what about passing? Smart passing is measured in assist percentage. Redick has an 11.0 assist percentage, just the seventh best in the category for the entire team. That puts him below even the loathed Gilbert Arenas, but Redick is a role player—someone who needs to hit shots when he is open, not make mistakes, and feed the scorers the ball. If his assist numbers are down, doesn’t his value also go down?

Coaches and teammates love it when you can get your star players the rock. Redick comes up short in this category. B- by his standards.

Protecting the ball is a Redick specialty, and probably where he stands out the most. Currently his turnover percentage is 9.5 percent. Only two Magic players with a better percentage is Ryan Anderson and Jason Richardson. This should be expected from the Coach K protégé. He is certainly “smart,” in that he does not throw errant passes and lose the ball off his feet. Another expected A performance this year.

Here’s the thing, though, and probably the biggest problem with the Orlando Magic after the 2010-2011 season. Only Dwight Howard, Brandon Bass, Ryan Anderson, and Jameer Nelson rank higher in John Hollinger’s Value Added metric. However, that puts Redick at 191 overall in the NBA.

So, sure he’s valuable to the Magic, and you might even argue that he is in the top five “value” players for the Magic. Even if you’re just looking at PER, Redick is in the top seven for the Magic. But if I am Otis Smith I want at least seven guys who are in the top 200 in the league, right?

Said differently, is it not troubling that Redick, for all the things he does right, is still less efficient than 200 guys in the league? What’s more troubling to me is how those around the league see it as “game changing” when he is not in the lineup.

For a guy who is known high IQ guy, I would think he might crack the top 200 in player efficiency. Instead, Redick is a guy who, in my opinion, wears the brand of “smart” and “important to the organization,” but does not necessarily do those “smart” things at an efficient rate, at least by the calculated total value and player efficiency standards.

I’m not ruling out defense here, because I know that Redick has great court vision, and hustles up and down the court with some of the scrappiest guys in the league. So if it is his defense that you are looking for, then by all means, Redick is your guy, and is valuable in that way.

But do not be fooled into thinking that he provides anything extraordinary, or even above average, on the offensive end. He shoots the ball well, and has a terrific turnover ratio, but aside from that, you’re just not getting much.

The key word here is impact. Redick has provided an excellent example of someone who does most things right, gets good grades, and does not give you much room to point fingers, yet the end product is marginalized somehow.

As for being a guy with a high basketball IQ, sure, I’ll buy it. He is a Blue Devil, and learned how to play the game well. I still would like to see his assist percentage go up, and perhaps even his usage rate, but he does not make or break a game for me, and certainly not a series. Still, though, I have no problem seeing him in a Magic jersey.

I have often thought it to be admirable when a coach can put a bench player in a position to be devastating to an opposing team. To define devastating, see James Harden’s performance last night in Dallas. If Stan Van Gundy can further mold Redick into a killer off the bench, we will see his impact go up, and likely his PER and Value Added will follow.

14 comments
marioraul
marioraul

..might have a better chance sticking with the "bad dribbling" argument. Otherwise please define what is this requisite athleticism. Stockton, Mark Price, etc etc etc, the Magic's own Scott Skiles -especially slow- was among the best we've have had running the point. You are confusing athleticism with leaping ability, I suspect because he's white or rarely dunks the ball. If you didn't know, this guy ranks among the most athletic players in the roster when that has been measured -and that IS a fact, not just me saying something for the sake of answering something. And either way, the point of it all is SVGs idea of two small guards at the same time (when Nelson isn't scoring well/assisting at a high rate) against most teams is a guaranteed ticket for a loss and shows SVG doesn't have a good grasp on game logic, because he never played it.

You mean I criticize the system that can't win a series against a decent opponent? (or the Hawks). Luckily for us the Cavs were a one-man team. Had they had another consistent player we would've been done!

To blurt out that SVG is 'one of the best coaches in the NBA' (solely because he was given the deepest NBA team that year on a silver platter) is naive and in effect makes me realize some Magic fans flat out deserve the mediocre product since they can't discern any better. SVG is actually the reason why we lost those finals.

I know I'm probably wasting my time, but it saddens me to watch the vastly superior coaching by Spoelstra and especially Carlisle (without his Mavs 2nd leading scorer/other key players) and think how the Magic never even gave this man an interview. Their choices? Brian Hill, and even worse.. Stan Van Gundy. Forget Stan's awful idea of a good offense and leadership, his body language alone is far and away the worst the NBA.

I understand this is a one-sports town who doesn't normally see past positive fantasy and cute gimmicks, but as NBA playoff performances go, the Magic-Lakers, Boston and Hawks series were an embarrassment, and a testament as to why the Magic will never win anything no matter how much they overpay or go over the cap, because they fail to understand the need to bring a smart coach on board. Miami is where it is today because they nabbed Pat Riley. The Magic already had the players then but stood pat with an inadequate coach. The same 'ol story 15 years later, unreal.

Wtops87
Wtops87

na they need to put him in more than they do. get him in more will get him warmed up. learn how to defend. not just put him in when they need a 3. they try given him the ball when they r down big and expect him to win it for them. hes a good player just needs more playing time.

Xmarioraul
Xmarioraul

That's an opinion of yours, not a fact. I still respect your view though. Truth is we'll apparently never  know under SVG, since he has shown he will continue to go with what doesn't work, which includes playing 2 smallish guards at the same (as long as they are 3-point gunners!)

Point guards are typically unselfish players, good passers and quickness is an advantage. Check, check, check. This player has all three. I'm not sure what facts the naysayers can provide to offer a reasonable basis for feeling so strongly against it. Saying "it's the end of the story" is far from convincing, unless of course, someone can predict the future.

Tisbee2
Tisbee2

It's not a rookie ever stepped into a starting role and helped the team make the Finals.

Mateus Fregonassi
Mateus Fregonassi

I don't see Singleton or Hamilton helping the Magic right now.

But I wouldn't mind if the Magic get players like Marshon Brooks, Tyler Honeycutt, Malcolm Lee and Charles Jenkins. They can help the team in the short term.

marioraul
marioraul

Stan Van tried to make D-Wade into a PG and that obviously didn't work out.

But here he has a player (Redick) who has great court awareness, is unselfish, and a better passer than the options we currently have at guard, yet Stan Van would rather have him shooting 3-pointers and matching up with SGs too tall for him to guard. Well, that's all the Magic offense consists of anyways but still, what a waste of skill. 

A Magic fan
A Magic fan

Magic should trade 2012 first round pick for Minnesota´s 20th pick this year to draft someone who can actually start at shooting guard or small forward. Chris Singleton and Jordan Hamilton come to mind.

magicworlds
magicworlds

Great post.  Yes JJ does a lot of right things / good things on the court yet, he should not be the long term solution at Starting shooting guard.  No way.   

hulk
hulk

start his ass then bitch fuckin damm

Wundervogel
Wundervogel

Are you seriously suggesting that Redick should play PG?  Have seen him try to guard Kirk Hinrich?  Think of what the other guards would do to him.. Rose, Williams, Kidd, Billups, Evans, Paul and others would do to him.  Redick is in the perfect role.

marioraul
marioraul

Have you seen what other PGs do to Jameer Nelson on a regular basis?  Fisher (two years ago), Crawford (this year) making series-changing shots wouldn't you say? Had those two shots missed, both series would have at least appeared to be less of a fiasco than they were.  Of course I'm serious, would you rather have Nelson guarding Hinrich?!  By your example guys like Mark Price, Scott Skiles should not have been NBA PGs. What position should they have played then?

It's part of an NBA coach's job, make the right adjustments in crucial situations. JJ has a much better chance of covering these two guards from hitting that shot, nothing mysterious about it. I'm not saying he should be a full time PG (that's irrelevant), but if you are up with almost no time on the clock, you obviously need more defense than offense.

Having Nelson in there is an invitation for the other team to take advantage of the situation, and they have. JJ provides a better cover, not to mention more active and just as good of a passer if not better.

If I'm Stan, I'm taking advantage of JJ's strong takes to the hoop and practice lobs and passes to Howard, just like Nelson does. In games where Nelson is shooting poorly, JJ can take over. That'd be an exciting and killer combo. But Stan prefers a more lazy pace with Redick out on the 3 all the time...

marioraul
marioraul

 I can agree with that. Nelson used to be a great shooter when he was an all-star candidate two years ago. I wonder if that injury never healed 100% because he's never been the same again. If he isn't making the big shots needed to "barely win" under SVG's offensive scheme, having two small guards hurts us more than it helps us. Unless, Nelson becomes a great passer and starts getting a ton of assists all of the sudden (which has never been his game).

Wundervogel
Wundervogel

My comment wasn't in defense of Jameer.  It's obvious that his defense is terrible and he gets smoked all the time.  But quite honestly, JJs lateral movement is worse that even Jameers.  Plus, JJ can't really handle the rock.  Let's just be honest about the whole thing, we need a true PG who can actually get to the ball to Howard when he is open on the pick and roll and at the end of games.  Howard doesn't get the ball at the end of games, just like Durant, because their PG doesn't give them the rock.  And that, my friends, goes back to coaching.  If the coach doesn't correct that then it's on his head.